Fly Drive New England
Explore the highlights of New England on this two week round-trip road trip, starting in the city of Boston before exploring everything the region has to offer from stunning coastlines to the verdant hinterland and offering the chance to cycle, sail and eat exceptionally well.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Enjoy Boston, one of the US's most historic (and fun) cities
- Explore the towns and islands of New England's classy coastline
- Head inland for the glorious hinterland of Vermont
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When To Travel
All of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you
Day 1: International Flight to Boston
This morning you will fly to Boston from the UK.
The flight usually takes about 7.5 hours. On arrival into Logan Airport take a cab into the city, which takes half an hour using the Red Williams Tunnel under the harbour. Check in at your luxurious hotel in the heart of the city and there should still be time this afternoon to stretch your legs and do a spot of window-shopping before enjoying dinner at one of the city's many excellent restaurants. We provide all our clients with a constantly updated and definitive dossier of their destination, detailing the finest things to do and places to eat, so you'll find a restaurant that's perfect for you.
Day 2: Explore Boston
After breakfast at your hotel it's time to brush up on your American Revolutionary history.
Take a self-guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail (for which we will provide a useful smartphone app). Alternatively we can always book you with an expert local guide, even one dressed in 18th century costume! This 2.5 mile route takes a couple of hours and weaves through the city past churches, parks and even a ship that played crucial roles in the foundation of the United States of America.
This afternoon you can relax in the city using our dossier again to engage in a spot of light shopping in Copley Square or Newbury Street's high-end boutiques. This evening it's time to try a different restaurant, maybe an authentic Italian (well, Italo-American) trattoria in North End or a dim sum dinner in Chinatown.
- Day tour to the historic battlefields in Lexington and Concord
Day 3: Back to School: Harvard University Tour
After breakfast at the hotel spend the morning wandering around Harvard, the acclaimed Ivy League university and cathedral in nearby Cambridge.
Explore the Harvard Museum of Natural History, walk along the Charles River spotting rowing eights training and admire the spires of the Memorial Hall before stopping for a delicious/heart attack inducing burger at famous institution Mr Bartley's Burgers.
This afternoon you can relax back in town before visiting Boston's other cathedral, otherwise known as Fenway Park ballpark, home of the legendary Red Sox baseball team. If they're playing at home, we can pre-purchase tickets for the game, but even if the Sox are on the road, you can still take a tour of the stadium and watch the game on TV with a beer in one of the stadium bars.
Day 4: Take the Coast Road to Maine
We have arranged for you to pick up your hire car from a downtown location in Boston (rather than from the airport and having to drive it into town and not use it for a few days) and we will provide you with detailed directions for the two-hour journey north.
Leaving the city behind, you will journey up the coast through up-state Massachusetts, cutting across New Hampshire's small stretch of coastline and into Maine before arriving at the Inn by the Sea. The journey should take approximately two hours, dependent on how many times you stop to appreciate the views on the way.
On arrival, enjoy the charming coastal setting, just seven miles from the city of Portland. Also nearby (in fact a bracing hour and a half's walk away) is Maine's most famous lighthouse, at Portland Head, which was commissioned by George Washington in 1791. Whether you walk all the way there or just on the local beaches, the hotel has an excellent spa to relax weary limbs, and a restaurant serving New England classics.
Day 5: Maine stay (and other activities)
We will provide you with a detailed list of local beaches and activities that we can pre-book, and should you want another city experience, we can advise on the best places to shop and eat in the many charmingly converted old wharves in the nearby city of Portland. Another fun outing is to take in six of the region's historic lighthouses along the coastline in a two-hour road trip. We will provide you with driving directions.
After your stint in the city, a stay here on the coast is the chance to get your fill of some of the East Coast's freshest lobster, take long walks along beautiful beaches (the hotel itself sits pretty on a mile of pristine sand), and enjoy all manner of outdoorsy activities, from sailing to cycling.
- Half day guided microbrewery tour of Portland and surrounding area Half day guided arts tour of Portland
Day 6: Verdant Vermont
Time to head inland for a slice of life in beautiful Vermont.
It's about a four hour drive from Inn by the Sea to the heart of the so-called Green Mountain State if you take one of the scenic routes through New Hampshire (you should) past unspoilt woodland such as the White Mountain National Forest or beautiful bodies of water such as Lake Winnipesaukee. On arrival at your hotel any British visitor may - and not for the first time on this trip - have a certain sense of deja-vu, with English country house style and Scottish landscapes helping it all feel like an extremely comfortable home from home. We only work with a handful of the finest properties in Vermont, so wherever you end up staying, you will be able to stretch your legs on a lovely walk in stunning wooded surroundings before enjoying a delicious dinner using the region's fabled farm produce.
Day 7: Explore Vermont Further
As you're combining this trip with the coast it's unlikely you'll be here in winter and enjoying Vermont's winter wonderland of ski resorts, but the state is equally - if not more - famous for its vivid autumnal colour, so you can combine a stay on the coast with the spectacular displays that turn Vermont a vivid combination of reds, oranges and yellows from mid-September to mid-October.
We can use the 'Fall Foliage Forecaster' to give a pretty good guess of when to be in the region, but even if you miss the full Fall colour palette, Vermont has a lot to offer from walking and cycling a range of well-marked trails to exploring the state's pretty as a picture towns. Keen foodies should note that Vermont is also at the forefront of the farm-to-fork movement so you can enjoy some mighty fine local produce from cheese to chocolate (and maple syrup, naturally) as well as a range of delicious craft ales from several award-winning microbreweries. As before, we'll take the hard work out of the decision-making process by providing a definitive list of the finest local producers and towns to visit.
- Half or full day mountain biking Full day tour of some of Vermont's finest microbreweries and craft ale creators
Day 8: Coastward bound
After breakfast it's time for possibly the longest single stint behind the wheel, on the four-hour journey from Vermont to Rhode Island.
The trip will probably take longer as there are plenty of places to stop en route as you head south along the valley of the Connecticut River before swinging south east through New Hampshire (always the bridesmaid, never the bride on this particular trip) and Massachusetts before reaching Rhode Island. Confusingly, the vast majority of the state isn't island at all, but a contiguous part of the New England coastline, but your eventual destination, Aquidneck Island, was once the eponymous Rhode Island. The island was also once the summer retreat of the robber baron billionaires (in today's money) of the Gilded Age, and you will stay in the main town of Newport at the Vanderbilt Grace, named - appropriately enough - after the foremost of the super-wealthy 19th and early 20th century industrialists. The hotel was once home to one of the famous Vanderbilt clan, so you can experience the sort of decadent comfort they once enjoyed.
Day 9: Rhode Island
After breakfast on the lovely garden terrace (weather permitting) at the hotel, it's time to explore the island in more detail, starting with a tour of the millionaire's mansions.
We will create a driving or walking tour of a selection of the finest/showiest on the island, which range in style from French chateaux through to 'Jacobethan' English manor houses and Italian palazzos, all sharing one thing in common: a spectacularly conspicuous display of wealth. Back in Newport itself, explore the town's charming galleries and chic boutiques before lunch in one of many delicious seafood restaurants overlooking the harbour. The harbour is also the focal point of another phenomenon that has made Rhode Island famous - sailing. As the spiritual home of the America's Cup and host town to many other highly respected regattas, Newport prides itself on its maritime roots and we work with the best local companies to arrange private charters aboard anything from an elegant 80s schooner, to traditional sloop and an actual 60s America's Cup winning yacht. There's no better way to explore the waters off this beautiful island than under sail aboard a beautiful boat.
- Half or full day private yacht charter
Day 10: Cape Cod & the Islands
From one slice of New England as all-American as apple pie to another: Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, a gentle two-hour's drive to the east.
If you have longer to play with then we could create a longer itinerary involving stays on both of the islands, but with a more limited timeframe we'd recommend sticking to the mainland and Cape Cod itself, with day boat trips to the islands.
Stay at Chatham Bars Inn, a century old coastal retreat sitting right on the golden sands of Pleasant Bay (yes, it really is as quaint as it sounds). Spend the afternoon lazing on the beach, enjoying nature walks, cycling along the extensive Cape Cod Rail Trail or Province Lands Trail or visiting some of the startling modernist houses on the peninsula which contrast so beautifully with the wild surroundings and cutesy clapboard vernacular. Alternatively, retreat to the spa for complete relaxation.
Day 11: Nantucket or The Vineyard
Today you have a choice between two islands: Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
If you choose Nantucket, then after breakfast head to Hyannis (a
40 minute drive) to catch the Nantucket high speed ferry, which
leaves roughly every couple of hours, with the crossing taking an
hour. Once on the island you can shop the preppy look (faded red
trousers and boat shoes are seemingly obligatory), enjoy a lunch of
local oysters and lobster rolls in one of several outstanding
seafood restaurants (yes, yes, they're on the dossier) and learn
more about how the community grew wealthy on the proceeds of the
19th century whaling trade in the Whaling Museum. Hear how
neighbouring Martha's Vineyard was the location for Amity Island in
the smash hit film Jaws, but Nantucket has its own mythical monster
of the deep in Moby Dick, which was based on the true story of the
Nantucket whaler Essex, sunk by a gigantic sperm whale in 1820.
Take the fast ferry back to Hyannis and head back to Chatham, and
if you can find the room to go again, there are yet more excellent
restaurants in the vicinity, or at one of the hotel's own choices,
including the pub-style Sacred Cod and STARS for delicious
Should you plump for former President Obama's favoured haunt of Martha's Vineyard, rather than embark from Hyannis, explore more of Cape Cod on the one and a quarter hour drive to Woods Hole, from where you can take the almost hourly ferry to Oak Bluffs on the island, which takes a mere 45 minutes. Once ashore, Jaws fans (which should be anyone who loves movies - discuss) will instantly recognise their surroundings, and can even enjoy a pint of Amity Ales in the Offshore Ale Company brewery and bar almost beside the ferry port. We don't advocate drinking and biking, but cycling is a lovely way to explore the island and we will recommend the best place to hire a bike in Oak Bluffs, which costs roughly £20 for the day. Cycling around the entire island, celeb spotting en route, would take about four hours, but factor in some beach time before returning to Oak Bluffs and taking the ferry back to Woods Hole. Then it's a drive back to the hotel for dinner.
Day 12: Cape Cod (Again)
Today is another day for exploring Cape Cod.
Spend the day soaking up the sun and cycling the trails or head down the road to Hyannis and explore JFK's favourite place in America.
Day 13: Homeward bound
Sadly this is the last day of your epic New England road trip but we'd recommend taking the overnight flight so you can maximise your time in the States.
Enjoy your final morning in Cape Cod before lunch and hitting the road for the two hour drive back to Boston Logan International Airport. Drop off the car, check in and your flight will depart early evening.
Day 14: Arrive back in the UK
Your flight will arrive into the UK before breakfast.
Will, George, Abigail and Kate B are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.